Waking up short of breath, I dreamed I was Hildegard von Bingen, who outsmarted a female demon robed in the bone-white garments of death. Stealthily exiting from behind my small fortress wall, I could see her, but she could not see me; I had frustrated her well. Waiting for me was a darkened, stone nunnery cell, but when I entered it became light and beautiful and full of good things. I entered and I lived a milenia there, and I did not die, because the little cell became a pathway unto The World, and The World was with me while I overcame my heart’s loneliness. A thousand years later I emerged from the cell into a world that was waiting for me in whispers. So many stones had fallen around me, a sea of small rocks. Bear tracks, huge and clearly present: I saw them, and followed them to where awaited an violent, small wolf, rabid with anger and pain. He lunged at me. I deflected him; he lunged again, I caught him, held his small self as his little body surrendered in howling tears, now loosening and reaching for comfort, the curse dispelled, a loving puppy once more.
What do White supremacists and anti-White radical Leftists (total racists themselves) have in common? They both believe that Whiteness is not a result of tremendous human cultural diversity. They both wrongly believe that Whiteness is a pure and unblemished ancestry of only one perfectly unified group of people with no true cultural blending or deeply complex human heritage. The difference is that where White supremacists idealize the fantasy of unchanging Whiteness and endanger other peoples while they’re at it, the racist Radical Leftists scapegoat and demonize that same racial fantasy, which they, too, have bought into, aggressively applying their imaginary ideas of racial sins committed to all living White people. We begin by untangling this mess with the love and pride which acknowledges that Whiteness is valid and worthy of ancestral celebration precisely because it is but one of so many complex human ancestries. Whiteness is valid and worthy because I am not only French, only Scottish, only English, only Danish, only German, or only Swedish. I am ALL OF THESE, and my life as the living descendant of this diversity, especially as an American, cannot and should not be parsed into ancestral pieces. Whiteness is itself but one of the living proofs of cultural diversity. Any who fail to recognize this ought to be challenged passionately. As for me and my living Whiteness, I will decide who I am.
One of the difficulties in learning to be present with a calm mind, and more important in learning to listen deeply to others, is the fear that we will loose track of our own valuable thoughts if we step out of our own minds long enough to listen to other minds, or have respite from the human mind at all. There is an underlying pressure we feel, when striving for mindfulness, to devalue our thoughts as if they were not the rare jewels that are precious sparks of insight. If we think we must believe our own thoughts are unworthy of attention in order to practice deep listening, we run the risk of not wanting to listen deeply because we feel we must choose between basic self-respect and respite from our own minds. Instead, we can maintain and grow our self-respect by trusting that whatever thoughts we discover within us that are worthy of chronicling will return to us again after our attention leaves our own our minds to venture out into the mind of another or the mind of The World: wisdom comes through us, not from us. Thoughts worthy of keeping are of the wisdom which comes from The Mind of the World.
Beloved Creator, God of the Universe, open my inward vision to the beauty of your hidden presence. This morning, each day, in all places, may my mind be seeking you in love and delight, most Beautiful Presence. May I be able to see you and know you when you appear in the grace of the world. Fill my mind with good thoughts and deep joy. You are the One who looks out through the eyes of all creatures. Inspire my words and actions to reflect your delgiht, great Light who never expires. You make the darkness shimmer in the night with the stars of your inmost light.
Originally Written April 2nd, 2016
memory of all nations,
remember the savannah
Do not forget us,
but accompany us,
friends of the heart,
on our trails into the future.
Remember us who come after you,
Remember us who go on before you,
Remember us who live in the heart-world around you.
… … …
I am one among millions who has known the loss of family. Maybe it is so that every living creature, when it becomes aware of its inevitable separateness from the beings most near it, feels this loss of unity, this severing of oneness. The genesis story of Eden is full of this metaphor. We were blind to our own abyssal awareness: then, we saw, and we became like gods, who who knew death, and the foresight of death, and the meaning of the anguish of self-awareness that accompanies the hominid brain.
I am a face in the sea of time: who will remember this one face? Genetics, maybe, or written words or painted images, better yet. Text is incarnated. You, God, would know most of all; You, who are always present and listening, it is your remembering us that I want for sure. You, who fill the whole earth with your breathing, must know and feel all that we feel in our creaturely lives. Being as that you are in us, and we are in you, then not one of us would be lost to the depths of time. And If you are truly omnipresent, then you would know how sacred the World is. I want to become an ancestor when it is my time. I never want to leave it.
Poetry by Gentle J. Pine
Laying down, reading a book about evil and God,
two insects wrestle on the ground below my eyes
while another carries her dead comrade away.
and the ants– what devotion they show me.
Obscure, so near to them,
an incomprehensible cloud.
poetry and photography by Gentle J. Pine
I’m an ex-cradle-born-Unitarian Universalist for good reasons. I’m politically moderate. I converted to sparkly Roman Catholicism at age 21. I am Jewish-curious, and am deeply attracted by their cohesive peoplehood and long, honorable struggle with a crazy God. When I was 22, I did something like animism and nature-based rites of passage in a community, but that community didn’t stick, even though the spirituality sure did. I don’t believe in fairies, I believe in birds. I don’t believe in unicorns, I believe in equines. I don’t believe in dragons, I believe in reptiles. The World is what’s real. Prayers and spells don’t save you; human research and evidence-based practices do, but a really grounded spirituality makes it all worth living through. Now I’m a scientific panentheist (is it really necessary to differentiate between pantheist and panentheist? Really?) who believes in a Creator that lives, breathes and moves in all created beings. I don’t claim that this Creator is always or ever going to do as we wish, or can even be trusted the conventional sense, though it can be greatly loved in its wildness. Nature is violent, insane and unjust, and we have every reason to think that any Creator who wrought it might be the same way. But Nature is also, simultaneously, beautiful, life-giving and deeply good. And so the same must be for this mysterious Creator. Such is life on earth. Sometimes I wish I were born in an Animist hunter-gatherer tribe of 30,000 years ago. Then again, I’m grateful for the gift of reason, evidence, vaccines, the internet and refrigerators. What I want most of all is a real tribe I can belong to. I wander, but I am not lost.